Step Away From Social Media! The Instagram Self-Esteem Crisis

You’re scrolling through your social media platforms and all you see is: Kendall Jenner’s slim figure, Kate Upton’s high cheekbones and Gigi Hadid’s perfect-looking hair everywhere. You see thousands of girls, commenting “Omg, goals! I wish I were you.” and unknowingly triggering a feeling of self-consciousness. If you relate to this issue, this article is for you.

Arguably, social media is the place where everyone tries to stand out from the crowd with enviable physical attractiveness and catchy photographs, striving to make themselves look like a compelling persona. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll admit, I’ve also tried to capture the perfect selfie or come up with a witty caption many times before. But the problem here tends to become much more serious than we think and, most of the time, on a psychological level.

Let’s be honest: we sometimes use social media as a illusionary façade, and by allowing us to create an “edited” image of ourselves, we’re simply encouraging the idea to hide our insecurities. Because of that, loads of obsessed Facebook and Instagram users often reach to the point where they represent “fake” experiences or distorted reality, aiming to achieve the ultimate goal which is to win other people's approval.

Undoubtedly, each one of us has felt the need to slightly edit themselves on a photo in order to remove a few annoying blemishes or slim their bodies down for a thinner waist. However, do we really need this kind of mental pressure in our lives in order to get a temporary pleasure from someone else’s “like” on our Facebook photos and more importantly, what makes us act in such manner?

The answer is that we’re constantly but unconsciously being introduced to the concept of the ideal feminine beauty, which might change over time but is currently all about having a large bust size, slim waist and wide hips. As much as we might not realise it, a lot of this comes as a result from deceiving social media photos, magazine covers and highly-edited films. Such visual attacks we are being subjected to on a daily basis, though they bring us nothing positive but a feeling of devaluation simply because not all of us were born looking like a top model.

What happens when we scroll through Instagram, looking at unnoticeable but surely edited celebrities’ photos, is that instead of reinforcing our individual uniqueness, they make us feel self-conscious and insecure about our physical appearance. We subconsciously compare ourselves to the non-existent and artificially represented people who have invested an awful amount of money in order to present themselves in a brighter light.

In spite of that, the relieving truth we should thoroughly accept and realise is that the alluring and flawless media image of high-life celebrities is an unrealizable idea, existing only in cyberspace. Taking this into consideration, no Hollywood celebrity would ever openly admit the “secrets” behind their impeccable and glamorous-looking photos on the red carpet, right?

We get easily deceived by their “flawless” look on which constantly work highly-paid make-up artists, hair stylists, as well as long hours of posing, good light and styling, but most of all, photo editing software and apps. Before you diagnose yourself with low self-esteem due to the well-cropped, edited and perfect camera-angled photos of any celebrity, think also about the professional crews behind their public image.

Unfortunately, having almost nothing in common with the realistic standards, the unattainable social media beauty ideals somehow manage to make us determined to meet theirs. This is also becoming quite beneficial to the cosmetic industries worldwide since self-love and social acceptance is one of the main 21st century issues among young people. Given that, following media’s body standards and lacking self-confidence is not even a cosmetic matter anymore but a psychological one.

Keep in mind that the criteria for beauty will always be there, media will always find their way to manipulate its users’ way of thinking, and famous people will keep unintentionally bruising our egos with their sometimes not so perfectly edited photos.

Sadly, we cannot do much about it but embrace it. Embrace our flaws, accept the way we are like, skip the filtering process when uploading a photo next time, and show ourselves to the world as we truly are. As cliché as it may sound, each one of us is unique and we possess our own sparkling charm which we’re so used to that we inadvertently neglect it, and do not realise how beautiful we appear to someone who has never met us before.


By Martina Milkova